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Welcome to an inspirational, short story blog by Kasi Maria Bryon, a pen name, pronounced, "Kay-see." This blog is different topics, but all about life ... through the eyes of a middle aged, single mom of two. Enjoy
My very first blog was on this same
topic. It’s a great concept.
Lately, life has seemed difficult and
depressing, causing its usual effect on me; weight loss. On top of the parental
transition, as one child has moved away to college and the other one is nearing
that time too quickly, and my single parent woes … I had to say good-bye to a
dear childhood friend. Watching cancer steal her from all and having no power
to ease the pain for her daughter, husband, parents or siblings … I’ve just been
sick. It all happened about two weeks ago. I became a recluse inside the walls
of my home for the weekend, reading Mitch Albom’s books, one after another. He
speaks a lot about life and death. I must say, it helped put things into
perspective. I love Mitch.
I dragged myself out of bed Sunday
morning (after her funeral on Friday,) fueling my body with the necessary
additive, coffee. Then some more. I had to pull it together, even if by artificial
means. I was committed to host an exchange student from Guatemala AND attend a
local play of The Christmas Carol.
26 year old female cousin, who has Cerebral Palsy, is interested in theater and
is part of the production team, so it became a family affair for her biggest
fans and supporters, us! Our family filled an entire section, and I brought the
exchange student along for the ride. She went from 0-200 being thrown in our
mix, especially if she had never been around people with disabilities or interracially
blended families. I didn’t ask her, or forewarn her. I just took her into the
deep end of the pool, and she loved it. We make abnormal seem normal, because
it is our version of normalcy.
aunt and uncle have adopted handicapped children for many years and currently
have two living; the 26 year old girl and a 17 year old boy. The girl has
severe physical disabilities, basically a quadriplegic, but no mental
disabilities. However, her impaired speech and outside appearance causes people
to assume otherwise, talking slow and louder as though she is deaf. She’s
accustomed to the treatment, but it still must get old. Her brother, on the
other hand, can walk, but though he resides in a 17 year old body, he will
remain childlike. Similar to a two year old, if I had to guess. Both are black,
and we are all white. Then, the exchange student is tan … so all colors were
As soon as I walked through the doors
entering the play, and saw my family, especially the two cousins, I was set
free from my debilitating outlook on life. I exited my little world and entered
theirs. One may see them or their life as difficult, flawed, or whatever. I see
it as beautiful and happy. Sometimes, I have a form of envy regarding their
dispositions and joy. I want it.
The Christmas Carol play was
magnificent, kind of reinforcing Mitch Albom’s words to me about what is really
important in life and how precious it is, along with the way we chose to live
After the play was over, we
congregated in the entrance, taking pictures and meeting the cast. I put on lip
gloss and because its application stick had a light, it drew the attention of
my cousin, the 17 year old boy. He is quite large because he doesn’t have the “full/stop
eating” sensor, and probably because of an adrenal issue (or something.) So,
that, combined with his African American genetics means … he has the most
gigantic lips ever. And I LOVE them. Never have I seen a pucker such as his or received
a more awesome kiss. I could just eat him alive. Anyway, he wanted lip gloss
too. Without thinking, I just painted it on his voluptuous pucker, until I
jumped as my uncle, his dad, said, “Aacckk, aacckk! Don’t put that on him!”
“But, he wants some … and he likes it,”
My uncle shook his head with a half-smile,
rolled his eyes and didn’t make me wipe it off.
It was the cutest thing. My cousin was
so proud of his glossed lips, keeping his lips in a pout from that moment on,
even sitting in the car as we drove to the movies. He was displaying the magnificence
of his lips for all to see. Of course, my lip gloss is frosted with glitter, as
I can have it no other way. Glitter makes everything happier and better, I
My cousins wanted to see the movie, “Frozen,”
and I joined them, bringing my youngest daughter and our exchange student … who
by this time, was in love with my sweet family. She fit right in with no
prompting, smiling the entire time.
Now, to the good part. The movie.
the girl cousin is in a wheelchair, we sat in the designated wheelchair area. I
sat on one side of her, my daughter and exchange student sat on the other side
of her. My job was to get her drink if she got thirsty. She never complains
about that either. Simply picking up your own cup is an unrecognized luxury, as
is drinking without a straw. Mental note …
aunt and uncle sat directly behind us. One on each side of their 17 year old
son, so he would not escape. He is not one who can be reasoned with, and it is
a task stopping him if he wants to do something because he is like a mini,
brown, Mack truck. They know how to be prepared by now.
There he sat, a huge child with a huge
bucket of popcorn, perched between his mom and dad … happier than anyone I have
ever seen. He cannot speak like us, but can make some sounds. They are unique
sounds, some are deep and some higher. He seemingly knows what he’s saying and
sometimes I do, but it really didn’t matter. The point was, he was a happy
camper, and no words were needed to understand that fact.
Every chance I got, I looked back at
him, just to observe and absorb his joy. He smiled, teeth showing (lips still
glossy,) for the entire movie, and participated with unimaginable enthusiasm.
During the movie, a character said he needed volunteers to rescue the princess.
This eager child was raising his hands in hopes to be picked by the characters
on the screen, ready for the challenge. If the movie characters chanted a word,
he would yell (or make a similar noise if he could) with them, trying to help.
Arms flailing, rocking back and forth, bouncing in his seat and making his
grunt-like noises. I would hear my aunt and uncle gently try to shush and calm
him. As I tried to make myself an outsider looking in, I wondered what our
surrounding movie watchers thought. I mean, it’s not like the people behind didn’t
notice this child (adult looking) fellow. He’s a hard one to miss. But really,
what was going through their minds? What would be going through mine if I were
not me, and he not mine?
It makes one stop and think. Maybe
some think he shouldn’t be out. Maybe some thought he was disruptive, though
his parents didn’t allow him to be excessive. Possibly some thought it was
funny. But, somehow, I don’t think many thought my thoughts …
Mitch Albom’s messages and The
Christmas Carol’s message became tangible. Living in the moment. This child was
100% in his present moment. The part I admire, and slightly envy, is his inability
to live in the past or future. He is only where he is at the moment he/we are
living. He doesn’t care about what was, or anticipate what will be.
has no worry.
no matter what anyone thought or thinks when they see my cousin, I wish for
them that they could share and experience his world, his ability … not what the
world sees as a disability.
In one day, one day with my family, I
came full circle. I was allowed to be a part of my cousins’ world, up close and
personal. Both of them. Simply being in their presence is powerful enough to
take me by the hand, rescue me from the undertow of my own sorrows, and pull me
to safety … in the boat with them. In their safe, happy, simple world. It will
always be amazing to me how the world sees “flawed” in the same thing I see as
perfection. Many, or most, see disabilities. I see abilities. This, is thanks
to my aunt and uncle. Angels here on earth.